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Sclafani v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 17, 2014

DAVID SCLAFANI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS CORPORATION, et al., Defendants

Page 1352

For Patricia Ann Sclafani, individually and as successor in interest to David Sclafani, deceased, Plaintiff: Ari Scott Friedman, Benno B Ashrafi, Carlos J E Guzman, Weitz and Luxenberg PC, Los Angeles, CA.

For Anthony Sclafani, an individual, Angela Sampson, an individual, Annette Oullette, an individual, Plaintiffs: Ari Scott Friedman, Benno B Ashrafi, Carlos J E Guzman, Leonard Sandoval, Weitz and Luxenberg PC, Los Angeles, CA.

For Air and Liquid Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation, individually and as successor by merger to Buffalo Pumps, Inc., individually and as successor in interest to Buffalo Forge Company, Defendant: Glen R Powell, Richard R Ames, Gordon and Rees LLP, San Francisco, CA; John F Hughes, Gordon and Rees LLP, Oakland, CA.

For Crane Co., Defendant: Bradley W Gunning, Daniel Scott Hurwitz, Geoffrey M Davis, Stephen P Farkas, K& L Gates LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Michele C Barnes, K and L Gates LLP, San Francisco, CA.

For Foster Wheeler LLC, aka and individually and as successor in interest to Foster Wheeler Corporation and Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation, Defendant: Charles S Park, Edward R Hugo, Karleen Frances Murphy, Shaghig D Agopian, Thomas Jeffrey Moses, Brydon Hugo and Parker, San Francisco, CA.

For Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Defendant: Elan N Stone, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Nina I Webb-Lawton, Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP, Columbus, OH.

For Ingersoll-Rand Company, individually and as successor in interest to Terry Steam Turbine Company, Defendant: Arpi Galfayan, Carla Lynn Crochet, Jeremy David Milbrodt, Prindle Amaro Goetz Hillyard Barnes and Reinholtz LLP, Long Beach, CA.

OPINION

Page 1353

STEPHEN V. WILSON, United States District Judge.

ORDER ON JOINT DEFENSE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT REGARDING CAUSATION

[339, 340, 342, 345]

This is a wrongful death product liability action brought by the survivors of David Sclafani. It is undisputed that Sclafani died from mesothelioma, a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. Defendants' motion addresses one prong of the liability analysis: causation. For purposes of resolving the motion, the Court assumes that defendants manufactured or supplied products containing asbestos, and that Sclafani came into contact with those products during his four years of service in the Navy. The sole issue for decision is whether there is a genuine factual dispute over causation, specifically, whether Sclafani's exposure to defendants' products " was, in reasonable medical probability, a substantial factor in causing or contributing to his risk of developing cancer." Rutherford v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 16 Cal.4th 953, 957-58, 67 Cal.Rptr.2d 16, 941 P.2d 1203 (1997).

I. BACKGROUND

Decedent David Sclafani enlisted in the Navy in January of 1960, serving as a boiler technician aboard the U.S.S. Morton from 1960 until 1963 and the U.S.S. Rogers for approximately six months in 1963. Among other things, Sclafani performed maintenance and repair work on various pumps, valves, and boilers aboard each ship. Sclafani claims that while working with these pumps, valves, and boilers, he inhaled asbestos-laden dust which later caused him to develop mesothelioma, the disease that caused his death.

Plaintiffs originally brought suit against twenty-nine defendants, alleging various causes of action under California law. Twenty-five of the defendants eventually settled or were otherwise dismissed from the action. On May 23, 2013, the four remaining defendants -- Air and Liquids Systems Corporation (successor to Buffalo Pumps, Inc.), Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Foster Wheeler LLC, and Crane Co. -- ...


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